Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

Name *

Victoria Road
Auckland, Auckland, 0624
New Zealand

Devonport Heritage 2017, an incorporated society formed in 2017, promotes heritage and sustainable development in Devonport.

north head from mt vic.jpg


Filtering by Tag: Height Sensitive areas

news roundup for May

Claudia Page

Devonport Heritage has decided to stand firm in the face of a threat to claim $21,150 in Environment Court costs from the society over the Masonic Hotel case. We believe the costs are an unreasonable imposition on a community group which has spent 22 years campaigning to protect heritage in Devonport. Recently Baycorp have been actively pursuing the society over the unpaid amount.

On 9 May our spokesperson and Deputy Chair Margot McRae presented our final Unitary Plan submission to a panel of Commissioners.   Our evidence supports the retention of the 8 metre HSA( Height Sensitive Area)  for Devonport Town Centre.

We reject the proposed amendment that  allows almost half of the HSA in the Town centre to be 13 metres. This conflicts with the whole intention of an HSA and is simply not warranted for a town/maunga relationship as important as Devonport and Mt Victoria/Takarunga.  We are especially concerned about the lack of assessment of the effects of the proposed amendment. Insufficient evidence has been provided that a 13 metre height limit will not affect the views of the mountain. Expert caucusing between two landscape architects and a member of the Devonport business association, and a walk around Devonport is not enough to justify the dramatic downgrading of Devonport’s HSA.

The fact is that reasonable development can occur in the town centre through the normal resource consent process. There are sites where greater heights will not impede views, but the correct avenue for proving this is through the non-complying consent process. If it’s shown that the extra height will not interfere with cone views, then there is no reason why it shouldn’t be approved.

In his rebuttal Peter Raeburn for Auckland Council supports the retention of the non-complying status for HSAs generally as the ‘best way of ensuring adequate attention is given to the prospect of adverse effects’. So he considers it the best method for other HSAs but not for Devonport.

The argument for increased heights is in fact based on an attempt to reduce consent and compliance costs for future development. Basically to make is easier and cheaper to go up.

Should we lose views merely to allow developers to keep their costs down?

In Summary - The Unitary plan process has become a debate about intensification – and the Devonport Town centre seems to encapsulate this. This intensification fever has gripped council and the planners and completely overtaken the whole process.

Yes to intensification -  but not at any cost.

Local community groups are the only ones standing up and saying ‘the price is too high’! Devonport and the HSA is a prime example of this. But it applies across the city.

Our volcanic cones that are so unique to Auckland must be sacrosanct. Surely in this great Auckland Supercity of the 21 century there must be room to better acknowledge, celebrate and respect the enduring connection between this maunga and this little town. 

The very name Takarunga translates as "Hill Standing Above", and that is how it should remain.

For further reading please refer to documents on our Downloadable Resources page

Auckland Council slippery slope sign   

Auckland Council slippery slope sign







Background to the height debate - DBA and Devonport Heritage views

Claudia Page

In mid 2013  David Barton from the DBA approached Devonport Heritage to talk about the Unitary Plan and the possibility of the two groups making a joint submission to the hearings.

Several things were discussed at these informal chats. Allowing increased heights and building up to 4 storeys was one such subject.

Devonport Heritage said we could not support increasing the height limits  because we believed this would harm the heritage ambience of Victoria Road and the business district.

However we did agree for the two groups to hold an evening in spring 2013 for invited people where both groups would do a power point presentation on our vision for the Devonport business area. 'But this was stopped in its tracks when shortly before the meeting  Devonport Heritage was told there was not to be a joint presentation. So our views were never heard

We have been very busy doing submissions on several topics for the Untiary Plan hearings and we did not become aware of the scope of the DBA submissions until just before the hearings on Viewshafts and Height Sensitive areas and also on Special/Historic Character and Pre-1944 overlays in June. Negotiating your way through the Unitary Plan website is extremely difficult and the DBA or the BID committee should have helped members and the community by posting their submission on the DBA website or emailing it to members.

This is what most organisations do in order to keep their members informed of their actions.

The DBA and the BID did not do this, which has resulted in member businesses only finding out about the submission made on their behalf when they saw it in the Flagstaff.This is either a terrible oversight or a deliberate attempt to keep the submission under the radar.


Whatever the reason, the DBA clearly does not have the mandate from its members for a submission that calls for the Volcanic cones height sensitive area to be removed from the Devonport business district so that buildings of 12.5 metres can be built as of right.


This submission was not circulated to business members nor to the residents of Devonport and clearly is not supported by most locals.

In view of such strong opposition the DBA should withdraw its submission to the Unitary Plan.

Takarunga / Mt Victoria anchors Victoria Road